While commenting in his _Daily Study Bible Commentary_ (1953) on Revelation 3:1-6 about the Church in Sardis, Dr William Barclay made this insightful and succinct statement about FATE and DESTINY …
“Nor must the Christian forget that, even as he must watch for Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is watching him. “I have not found your works perfect,” says the Risen Christ, “in the sight of my God.” Here two great truths meet us.
(a) Christ is looking for something from us. We so often regard him as the one to whom we look for things; for his strength, his help, his support, his comfort. But we must never forget that he is looking for our love, our loyalty and our service.
(b) The things a man must do lie to his hand. The old saying is true: “FATE IS WHAT WE MUST DO; DESTINY IS WHAT WE ARE MEANT TO DO.” *THE CHRISTIAN DOES NOT BELIEVE IN AN INESCAPABLE FATE; BUT HE DOES BELIEVE IN A DESTINY WHICH HE CAN ACCEPT OR REFUSE.*
*From* everyone of us Jesus Christ is looking for something; and *for* everyone of us there is something to do.”
The truth is that, *Remission of sin requires Repentance BY sinners and Blood Atonement FOR sinners. God has undertaken the Atonement through Christ, but Repentance still remains human responsibility.* Many are unaware of this mystery, so in their grapple with Divine Sovereignty or predestination or assurance of salvation, end up denying Human Responsibility resulting in pagan irresponsible fallacy of Fatalism.
This is why we have lopsided fallacies and presumptuous heresies like Hyper-Calvinist double predestination, presumptuous Once-Saved-Always-Saved (OSAS), and the so called “Hypergrace” Once-Eternal-Always-Permanent delusion, which are fast eating deep like cancer into the fabric of the postmodern Church, paganizing the Faith and destroying the life of many.
*RESPONSIBILITY vs SOVEREIGNTY*
John R. W. Stott in his book _The Cross of Christ_ (1986, pp. 95-96) wrote against any presumptive tendency to pitch human responsibility and Divine sovereignty against each other or make them mutually exclusive because Christ taught both ….
“Why is it that people do not come to Christ? Is it that they cannot, or is it that they will not? Jesus taught both. And in this “cannot” and “will not” lies the ultimate antimony between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. BUT HOWEVER WE STATE IT, WE MUST NOT ELIMINATE EITHER PART. Our responsibility before God is an inalienable aspect of our human dignity. Its final expression will be on the Day of judgment. Nobody will be sentenced without trial. All people, great and small, irrespective of their social class, will stand before God’s throne, not crushed or browbeaten, but given this final token of respect for human responsibility, as each gives an account of what he or she has done”
The truth is that, *as Natural Life is free gift from God for human stewardship to be accounted for, so also is Eternal Life free gift from God for human stewardship to be accounted for.* UNMERITED DOES NOT MEAN UNACCOUNTABLE.
Every free unmerited Sovereign Endowment or Gift from God IN THE NOW (Natural Life, Spiritual Life, Justification, Forgiveness, Regeneration, Truth, Talent, Treasure, Spiritual Gift, Blessing, Scriptural Revelation, etc), is an Entrusted Stewardship with which we must all work with IN THE NOW to give account of IN THE END, for adjudged reward or retribution.
(14) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
(10) And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
(11) He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
(12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
The Venerable T. C. Hammond also expounded on the contingent verity of both Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility in his classic book, “In Understanding Be Men”.